February 16, 2013 by Julia
I am now free to tell you all the reason I have been somewhat distant is that I am pregnant, and I was therefore not inclined to do anything more than lay around in bed and feel sick. Thankfully, I am largely over that stage, so I hopefully can start delivering more rants (and reading Thomas Sowell books out loud to my belly). Okay, now someone with kids tell me that I am going to survive an infant, because I am an only child (so no younger siblings) and I’ve never even held an infant, so I am ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of this entire process.
1. Let’s talk about illegal aliens for a bit. And while I wish I meant ancient astronaut theory, because Ancient Aliens is one of my most favorite television shows, I mean folks who move here without following the proper procedures to arrive and remain here legally. This issue has come up a lot recently (consider that the head of the ICE employee union testified this week on the same panel as an illegal immigrant he could not arrest, right after Democrats brought several illegal immigrants to the State of the Union as their guests), and there are related two stories that especially make me twitch.
First, there was this:
Obama warned that the issue was an emotional one, but that it was important for Americans to not view it as “us versus them.”
“It’s really important to remember our history,” Obama continued. “Unless you were one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from someplace else, somebody brought you,” he said.
Our president was invoking the old leftist adage that because all of the evil white people were not “native” to America, we are therefore unable to restrict who now resides here. Here’s the problem: the so-called “Native Americans” weren’t from America either. Were they here before Europeans? Yes. Did they come from “someplace else?” Yes, just like the rest of us. Seriously, I’m the farthest thing from an evolutionary biologist or a geologist, and even I know about the Bering land bridge (and various Pacific expeditions by various Asian nations). So, if that’s the Democrat argument for unlimited immigration, I’m going to have to declare that the Democrats are the Stupid Party for blatantly rejecting science.
But wait, there’s more.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for some reason, concluded that its primary function is to eradiate “discrimination,” not regulate agriculture. Now, while I applaud any government agency that decides to get less involved in messing up the economy, I object to it happening on my dime, considering that we’re still paying our employees to sit through “cultural sensivity training.” Especially training like this (emphasis added):
USDA Sensitivity Training Video Excerpt 2 – “I want you to say that American was founded by outsiders – say that – who are today’s insiders, who are very nervous about today’s outsiders. I want you to say, ‘The pilgrims were illegal aliens.’ Say, ‘The pilgrims never gave their passports to the Indians.’” Betances also asked the audience, “Give me a bam,” after these statements, to which the audience replied in unison.
I mean, really, that is *headdesk* worthy. Someone is an “illegal alien” when he or she enters and remains in a sovereign nation without following the proper, legal procedures for doing so. In order for this guy’s statement to make any sense whatsoever, we would have to believe that, say, southeastern Virginia at the time of the first Jamestown settlement was a unified nation with immigration laws, which the English violated. Such a proposition is patently absurd–one cannot violate laws that do not exist.
2. Perhaps you have heard of the Orson Scott Card-DC Comics kerfuffle, wherein various groups are angry because Orson Scott Card, who is apparently not a fan of gay marriage, will write (co-write?) some issues of a Superman title. Keep in mind, I address this as someone who doesn’t read DC (I have read exactly two DC titles, issue #1 of Ame-Comi Girls (dull) and the new Sword of Sorcery, which is good but already cancelled) and who has never read anything by Card, either. Further, for the purposes of this conversation, Card’s actual opinions are irrelevant and I will not discuss them specifically, because my opinions would be exactly the same regardless of what he said or thinks. Here are the opinions:
- Card has every right to believe anything he damn well pleases;
- Consumers have every right to believe anything they damn well please;
- Consumers have every right to decline to purchase any product for any reason;
- Consumers have every right to ask private companies to do anything, or not to do something;
- It is utter stupidity to attempt to convince a private company (or the government, for that matter) to do something to your alleged enemies that you would not want that company to do to your allies;
- It is fundamentally intolerant to demand that a private company fire someone for his or her beliefs, whether political, religious, or otherwise; and
- A private company is completely free to fire someone if that company believes the individual hurts the company’s brand, or in response to a petition if it so chooses (absent an employment contract which modifies this arrangement).
Here’s what makes me twitch about the response to Card’s hiring, with the above statements of opinion in mind: the protesters can’t seem to come up with either a logical argument or an argument that could not also be used to persecute them. This does not help their cause, as they are coming off like bullies.
I was kind of horrified to see how few comic book fans stood up for the right to have unpopular opinions in the comments sections of most articles or op-eds about the issue–especially given that the same people probably donate to organizations like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund without irony. Then I came across this op-ed, which has a fascinating discussion in the comments/forum (although to be fair, that is probably because this particular piece is so terribly argued that more people were compelled to point out its flaws).
Seriously, this is the argument: bigotry is not an opinion, and Card cannot write Superman, because his opinions are more like a super villain’s, regardless of whether those opinions even appear in the issues he writes. Um, no. First, bigotry is, in fact, an opinion. Whether or not a statement is an opinion has nothing to do with how reprehensible it is or isn’t. Geez, are dictionaries hard to use?
Second, well, the idea that Card can’t write Superman, specifically, because of his opinions makes no sense at all. Let me quote a good comment on this argument, which encapsulates my own response (emphasis in original):
Quote from the article:
He should not, however, be allowed to come anywhere near pre-established superheroes like Superman, who possess a single, unifying trait: an overwhelming compassion for all human beings
This argument is so stupid it kind of makes me angry. Because OSC has strong political views he can’t write Superman because…what? The author even admits in the article that OSC wouldn’t write anything anit-gay in the comic…so…. what?
It’s the most poorly written argument I’ve seen…period. I don’t even understand what argument he is making. That OSC can’t write an existing compassionate character because he has some bigoted points of view that would never manifest in any of his writings? I didn’t even know OSC had these views.
His only explanation is that he can’t imagine Superman acting like OSC, “But can you imagine Superman, the greatest champion for truth and justice, sitting on the board of NOM”. So OSC shouldn’t be allowed to write Superman because, even though he isn’t infusing his own views on Superman, the author of this article would be offended by thinking about what Superman would be like if he was OSC? Or because OSC and Superman share different views on gay rights? WTF?
This is a pure garbage argument.
This is pure stupid.
Bonus irony from the comments:
[Card] has no business being in the comic book industry if his mind is that narrowed. Comics are a place where ideas and thoughts can be explored and opened, not closed off and belittled.
Self-awareness is as hard as opening a dictionary, I see.
Note that I am expressly NOT using the phrase “free speech.” The right to free speech is a right to speak without government prosecution. This situation has nothing to do with the government. Everyone involved is a private actor. I just happen to believe strongly in a personal (not legal) commitment to free speech, regardless of the content of the speech, but I do not call it free speech, in order to avoid confusion with the legal principle.
One final thought: some folks (you know, like me) criticize the use of petitions to get people fired for holding unpopular opinions (for various reasons–mine are that it is pure intolerance, and that it is supremely dangerous to advocate, in general, that people who think unpopular things should not hold jobs). In response, the protesters point out that they have the right to express their opinion that Card should be fired. They are absolutely correct that they have that right–but they are either disingenuously pretending to misunderstand the argument, or actually misunderstanding the argument. We aren’t staying that they don’t have the right, we’re saying that it’s not really a good idea to exercise that right. There is a difference, and it’s really not that hard to understand. Go ahead, exercise that right if you want to, but be prepared to be called an intolerant hypocrite, and to someday be fired for one of your opinions. Because yeah, if it can happen to Card, it can happen to you. If you don’t want to give Card money, don’t buy the title. You also have that right, and it is neither hypocritical nor dangerous for your own future.
(private companies can make any decisions about employment they want, I don’t care–but I will not advocate for individual people to be fired, because I wouldn’t want it to happen to me)